Criminal Law Criminal Offences Assault Police Officer

Assault police officer 

Assault Police Officer- Section 60 Crimes Act 1900

A person who assaults a police officer while in execution of the officer’s duty, is liable to imprisonment for 5 years.

An assault is as follows:

  • You assaulted, stalked, harassed or caused the officer to fear immediate and unlawful violence, or you made unauthorised physical contact with the officer;
  • The officer did not consent, and
  • Your actions were intentional or reckless

An act is considered to be against a police officer even though he or she is not on duty, if it is carried out due to:

  • Actions by the officer while executing his or her duty, or
  • The fact he or she is a police officer
Maximum Penalties

Assaulting a Police Officer carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.

The maximum penalty increases to 7 years in prison where you inflicted ‘actual bodily harm’ on the officer which is harm that is more than ‘transient or trifling’ and includes lasting cuts or bruises.

The maximum increases to 12 years in prison where you inflicted ‘grievous bodily harm’ on the officer which is ‘very serious harm’ that includes, but is not limited to:

  • Any permanent or serious disfigurement
  • The destruction of a foetus, other than by a medical procedure, and
  • Any grievous bodily disease
Your Options in Court

Pleading Not Guilty

The offence is established if the prosecution can prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  • You assaulted, threw a missile at, stalked, harassed or intimidated a police officer
  • The police officer did not consent to your actions
  • You acted either intentionally or recklessly

Defences to this charge

Self-defence– where you used unlawful violence to protect yourself, your property or another person. 

Duress- Where you were threatened or coerced into using the unlawful violence.

Necessity- Where you used unlawful violence to prevent serious injury or danger.

Consent– Where consent was given to the touching.

Accidental- where the touching was accidental- for example, contact occurred in a large crown by mistake.

Pleading Guilty

It is important that you speak to an experienced criminal defence lawyer who will be able to advise you of your options.

If you decide or have been advised to plead guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm after receiving legal advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer, it is crucial that your case is sufficiently prepared to maximise your chances at obtaining a lenient sentence. 

Utilitarian Value or 25% discount on punishment

The discount for the utilitarian value of the plea of guilty will be determined largely by the timing of your plea entered. That means, the earlier you enter a plea of guilty, the greater discount you receive on your punishment and also the type of sentence you receive.

The utilitarian value of a delayed plea is less and consequently the discount is reduced.

Types of penalties

Types of penalties the Judge can impose on you include any one of the following:

Our expert defence team at Criminal Lawyers Sydney may be able to negotiate the police ‘facts’ to reduce the seriousness of the offence.

Our team will guide you on obtaining materials which can be handed-up to the court during your sentencing – including a letter of apology, character references and any documents from counsellors or health care professionals you have consulted.

These materials, together with persuasive verbal submissions by your lawyer in the courtroom, can help to ensure you receive the most lenient penalty that is possible in the circumstances.

If you have been charged with assault, call Criminal Lawyers Sydney anytime on (02) 91528619 to arrange a free first conference with one of our experienced assault lawyers who will review the allegations and advise you of your options and the best way forward.